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Why Rep. Bordado voted ‘no’ on proposed charter change

SINCE its ratification during the term of then-president Corazon Aquino in 1987, the Philippine Constitution has yet to be amended. It is undeniable that in the 36 years since, there have been huge changes in the social, economic, and geopolitical climate of the Philippines. The clamor for constitutional amendments did not begin in recent years but had been cropping up even in prior administrations. The discussions centered mostly on the economic provisions that, according to the arguments, are restrictive enough to inhibit the Philippines from receiving substantial foreign investments. This has been the primary reason why we are once again discussing the creation of a Constitutional Convention.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the Philippines’ existing crises. People’s health, safety, and financial stability have been severely jeopardized. And we find ourselves amid a struggling economy. Recovery, of course, is attainable. But it is looking to be slow, arduous, and wrought with challenges.

Revitalizing the economy should be our topmost priority. The idea of the Philippines becoming more open to foreign investors is a welcome one. However, amending the 1987 Philippine Constitution by way of a Constitutional Convention is a proposal that gives me pause. If approved, this would be a precarious route that could introduce unnecessary changes outside the suggested economic modification.

We do not need to delve into the costly and time-consuming task of amending the Constitution in order to foster economic growth. Instead, we could continue introducing new legislations and amending existing ones to address pressing economic issues, particularly if urgency is our main concern. This view is shared by numerous groups and organizations like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s largest business organization, and the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. No less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself shares this sentiment as well. According to the President, there is no need for a charter change in order to entice foreign investors to the country.

Amending the constitution is a massive responsibility that does not only affect our current predicament but also sets the foundation of our future. Any action we make towards this step should be done so with careful consideration and thorough preparation. Restoring our economy is our most urgent priority, but opening the Constitution for amendments is a rather risky proposition. Our sparse resources, which are already spread too thin, would be better used addressing persistent economic matters at hand. Therefore, I vote no to the RBH No. 6. (CGHB Facebook)


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